Hot Doug’s, the encased meat emporium in Chicago, closes for good at the beginning of October, after 13 years.
I’d been there once about three years ago, but only to get a basic dog before heading to Alinea, so news of its impending closing was enough to motivate a labor day weekend vacation back to Chicago…
The line was several buildings long, down the street past some neighbor’s yard (maybe four times as long as shown in the photo here):
After an hour in line, a woman came out from inside and informed people in our part of the line that it was probably another three and a half to four hour wait. I’m not kidding. Yet, out of the entire line, only three groups gave up and left. The rest of us settled in (people with more forethought had brought chairs, but our group chatted, caught up on life developments since we’d last seen each other, and did three tricky NYtimes Thursday crosswords).
Finally, after almost exactly 5 hours in line (including the most amazingly patient 2-year old I’ve ever met), we were at the counter, and ordered seven different special sausages:
And then there we were, in a brightly-lit, festive atmosphere, surrounded by tables of other people dedicated or crazy enough to have made that wait, eating ten different meats (elk, antelope, buffalo, venison, pork, beef, lamb, duck, steak, and chicken). Sausage after sausage was a tender, delicious combination of flavors.